Cafe Society

Ask the Critic: Nothin' but nuts

Because I live and work in Colorado, and because my livelihood revolves almost entirely around food, I get asked quite a lot about that one food item for which Colorado will always be known: the Rocky Mountain oyster.

Yes, we're talking about balls.  I've eaten them a couple of times, and while I wouldn't necessarily call myself a fan, I don't have any particular problem with them.  They're decent enough fried, served with a little horseradish.  And while it's not like I'm going to go out of my way looking for them, neither am I going to run screaming and gagging for the men's room when they show up on my table.  In terms of eating balls, I'm like Switzerland -- entirely neutral.

But Bruce, who wrote to me last week?  He's a big fan of the balls.  A nut aficionado, one might say.  And he has a question...

I am a fan of these nuts.

Over the past 20 years or so I have eaten them in WY, MT, ID, UT, ND, SD and CO. The ones I ate in ND, WY and MT were at branding time (no, I'm not a cowboy) and were the best ever. They were nuts from calves, not bulls, which makes all the difference in taste. Range nuts do have an oyster flavor hence the name, but the crap served at most restaurants are from the bull and sliced thus being more chewy and mostly tasteless.

Nonetheless would you please [tell me] where a person can get [Rocky Mountain oysters] on the front range and/or in CO.

Just to let you know I think Bruce's in Severance is OK but Buffalo Bill's in Denver are for shit.

So what do you say, folks? Any other big-time nut fanatics out there who can help Bruce out? Post a comment below and let the man know where you've found the best (and worst) bull's balls in the state. I'm sure that any help would be appreciated.